You Get What You Give

You Get What You Give

A Guest Post by Joanie Rufo, President of Initiate Consulting and Taproot Foundation Pro Bono Consultant
Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - 2:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Pro Bono Week


For the past six years, I’ve volunteered for The Taproot Foundation. Taproot “makes business talent available to organizations working to improve society.” In other words, Taproot makes it possible for people like you and me to contribute professional skills in core business functions like IT, marketing, HR, strategy and so on to non-profit organizations.

At its core, Taproot believes that “high-quality professional services are too important to be available only to those who can afford them.” To date, Taproot has delivered nearly $122,000,000 in pro bono services.

Let me pull no punches here: I am a huge Taproot advocate. Its mission has inspired me from day one, and it operates in such a way that has been unique in my volunteer experience. The gifts I have received from working with numerous DC-based nonprofits have been immeasurable, not to mention how much I’ve learned from the other professionals who became my team members and friends.

The two specific elements I value so much about my Taproot involvement are:

·         It enables me to “think globally and act locally.” I’m part of a movement that is much bigger than myself. I love this.

·         It enables me to support my community in a very broad way. There are so many worthy causes out there. I used to get stuck trying to pick one cause as more important than another. Taproot allows me to be an advocate for causes, period.


The reason I’m highlighting Taproot today is because we are gearing up for Pro Bono Week, which is October 20th – 26th, 2013. Taproot DC is challenging professionals in the Capital Region to provide $100,000 worth of pro bono services throughout the week. Will you join us? 



– Winston Churchill

Pro Bono Week serves two purposes: celebrating the pro bono ethic across all professions, and encouraging more skilled professionals to donate their expertise to nonprofits pro bono. Inspired by the American Bar Association, Taproot works with partners to focus attention on the pro bono movement during the third week of October.

Pro bono – short for pro bono publico, “for the public good”—refers to professional services delivered without expectation of a fee to organizations serving the social good. It is both a form of support for community organizations as well as an increasingly core part of the ethic of business professionals from design to HR to technology and so on.


1.    Join us for the Pro Bono Campfire on Tuesday, October 22nd. This is a day-long “blitz” where you can work with an assigned nonprofit to solve a challenge in the course of a single day. Can you join us? Can you gather a team to come donate skills and brainpower? This is a great team-building opportunity and a chance for your organization to make a difference.

2.      If you can’t join us on the 22nd, contact nonprofits in your community and see if you can donate a few hours of professional pro bono services anytime between October 20-26. Be sure to let us know about it so we can track your hours toward the goal!

3.      Encourage other professionals in your network to get involved in donating pro bono services.

4.      Tell us your bono stories! Use #probonodc and #PBW13.

5.      Check out Taproot DC’s Pro Bono Week events:



Give back - donate your skills pro bono.

Get your company engaged in pro bono service.

Start securing pro bono resources for your nonprofit.



Since 2001, Taproot Foundation has proven that pro bono service is a viable and reliable tool for strengthening nonprofit organizations. Today, Taproot continues to lead nationally by acting locally, and seeks to build a pro bono marketplace that, like philanthropy, is large, accessible, professional and transparent. By taking lessons learned from our award-winning Service Grant Program and applying them to our innovative new program areas, we work to stimulate the supply of pro bono resources through our corporate Advisory Services practice, as well as demand for these services by giving nonprofits the tools and training that sets them up for successful pro bono engagements. Our work has evolved to include thought leadership and international field-building, convening global leaders in the social sector to guide the design and direction of the pro bono movement while focusing on infusing a pro bono ethic into business professions, professional schools, companies and nonprofits in communities across the country and around the world. Visit to learn more.


Pro bono--short for pro bono publico, "for the public good"—refers to professional services delivered without expectation of a fee to organizations serving the social good. It is both a form of support for community organizations as well as an increasingly core part of the ethic of business professionals from design to HR and technology, who believe that high-quality professional services are too important to only be available to those who can afford them.